This math counting beads activity is a great way to teach math. Kids of all ages, particularly toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary aged kids, will have so much fun with this math counting beads activity. It’s a simple activity to put together, budget-friendly, and a fun way to learn math. Plus, this math counting beads activity is also great for fine motor skills!

preschool math with beads

Math Counting Beads Activity

Preschoolers often learn how to count before they can actually identify the actual written number. And to learn the numbers and recognize quantity we will use this math counting beads activity. It’s simple, fun, and they can also practice their fine motor skills and and explore colors as well!

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Supplies Needed For This Math Counting Beads Activity

You only need a few supplies for Math Counting Beads Activity like: paper, glue, markers, pipe cleaners, beads.
You only need a few supplies like: paper, glue, markers, pipe cleaners, beads.

How To Put Together Your Math Counting Beads Activity

Step 1

Take your pipe cleaners and stick the correlating color of paper on them.

Step 2

Use your marker and write a number on it.

Step 3

Put all the beads in a bowl so your child has easy access to them.

Math Counting Beads Activity- child sitting at a table with pipe cleaners and beads on a table
Time for some counting fun!

And now it’s time to learn to count!

Our Experience With This Math Counting Beads Activity

My daughter is this way. She can easily count to 20 but struggles when I point to an 8 and ask her to tell me what number it is – we haven’t even begun working on recognizing written word numbers yet.

So I’ve been looking for some fun ways to help her learn to associate her skills at counting with actual numbers. And what better way to do this than with an interactive game using beads and pipe cleaners? This project is super easy and inexpensive to make.

You just need some pipe cleaners, construction paper, glue, a marker, and beads. I cut out strips of construction paper and wrote a number 1 through 10 on each one. I wrapped the construction paper around the pipe cleaner and attached it to the pipe cleaner with a glue stick. Then I gave my daughter a cup of beads. “Yay, beads!” she said. We did something similar where we learned patterns with fruit loops – beads were cleaner, and better for you! I told her to start with the number 1 and string one bead on that pipe cleaner.

Math Counting Beads Activity- girl with orange pipe cleaner and blue bead
Put the beads on the pipe cleaners.

Then I asked her what number comes after 1?


So I asked her to string 2 beads on the next pipe cleaner and I showed her the number 2 flag on that pipe cleaner. I talked her through it like this for the first few numbers. Then she caught on and started saying the next number and pointing to the flag all by herself! She had a lot of fun counting out the beads and threading them on the pipe cleaners.

Math Counting Beads Activity- stringing beads on pipe cleaner

Before I gave her this project to work with, I had a fleeting thought about how particular she is about some things.   I wondered if she might try to match the beads with the color of pipe cleaner and get upset if I didn’t have enough beads of a particular color for her. I decided that she surely wasn’t as compulsive as me to even think of something silly like that!

I was right…and wrong. She is compulsive but in a totally opposite way than me. Instead of matching the bead color with the pipe cleaner color, she actively made sure that there were no beads that matched the color of the pipe cleaner they were on and actually put beads back if she grabbed one that matched! It was fun to watch her at work!

My 3 year old had a great time doing math with pipe cleaners and beads. It definitely helped her see how counting related to the corresponding numbers.

Preschool Math With Beads Activity

preschool math with beads

Learn math, colors, counting, and practice fine motor skills with this preschool math with beads activity


  • Paper
  • Glue or Tape
  • Markers
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Beads


  1. Take your pipe cleaners and stick the correlating color of paper on them.
  2. Use your marker and write a number on it.
  3. Put all the beads in a bowl so your child has easy access to them.

More Math Activities From Kids Activities Blog

Check out this list of large activities for preschoolers!

What did you think of this math counting beads activity?

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  1. Thanks for sharing this great idea to teach maths. Kids usually find it tiresome to learn in bookish way. This would be really fun for them to learn as well as enjoy the subject.

  2. My 2 year old can recognized both the numbers and number words up to 25. She can count them out for me and everything! She cannot seem to count out beads in the appropriate quantities yet though. She seems to lack the focus to sit and string them (even when NOT counting), or even place them in bowls. I’ve tried several times & ways but she just counts to 25 as fast as she can while stringing on one or two beads, puts it down and runs off!
    I don’t want to PUSH her too much (she’s only TWO!) but any suggestions on getting her to focus? She’s turning into a multi-tasker and she still a TODDLER!!!

  3. Love this math idea~ Thanks for sharing on our Pinterest Saturday Party! I posted it there so you should get more traffic from it! Yay! Thanks, Susie

  4. Thanks for a fun, inexpensive idea. A few minutes of set-up, supplies we already have and great correlation of number & object count.